COPC New Directions: Richmond, California
CCI received a Community Outreach Partnership Centers New Directions (COPC) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to research whether and how revitalization is possible without significant displacement in communities -specifically Richmond, California- and to provide technical assistance to groups carefully revitalizing the city’s neighborhoods. Faculty, staff and students worked with the Richmond Regional Equity Demonstration Initiative (REDI), , an effort led by a group of nonprofits sponsored by the Ford Foundation to spur equitable development. CCI concentrated research and technical assistance on REDI's goals regarding increased access to affordable housing and economic development strategies. IURD also helped REDI to focus some of its activities in strategic ways that can assure implementation, and to bridge relationships with other institutional partners and local community based organizations.
Starting in 2003, CCI helped REDI and City Government partners understand how Richmond can be revitalized while minimizing the displacement of residents often brought about with improvement efforts. This work was timely as the City updated its General Plan in 2006-2008. We wore two hats during the course of an ongoing effort to support their equitable development goals through service and research:
- Placing undergraduate and graduate students in locally serving organizations to support specific projects and campaigns.
- Hosting a summit about equitable development, August 2006.
- Providing government and organizations with research focusing on developing a better understanding of how revitalization works and for whom. We look at both why revitalization occurs in certain areas and the policies that can help residents capture the benefits. Topics include land use, housing development, workforce development, local economic development, and urban design.
- Conducting coursework that takes a critical eye and poses innovative solutions to local issues.
What is equitable development?
Equitable development embraces revitalization efforts in cities and expects them to improve the lives of all affected residents and workers. Principles of equitable development are:
- New investment directly benefits the residents of low- and middle-income neighborhoods who have largely been left out of the region’s prosperity,
- Public subsidies are used to encourage private investment where it can best provide opportunities for residents,
- Everyone who is affected by it has an opportunity not just to learn about the development process, but to have their voices heard and their interests represented in the decision-making process, and Economic development policies, plans and projects are evaluated with quantifiable measures of the impacts on residents of low-income neighborhoods.
Richmond Equitable Development Demonstration Project
Richmond should be a community in which every resident has access to affordable housing, and safe, reliable public transit that connects them to living-wage jobs, quality education, a clean environment, health care and other essential services. It should be a place where community-driven economic development puts existing residents’ needs first, where urban revitalization provides opportunities for local businesses to thrive, and where local policies are part of a regional plan for achieving an equitable and sustainable Bay Area. Richmond Equitable Development Demonstration Project is collaboration amongst organizations to achieve equitable development in Richmond -Urban Habitat, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, FaithWorks! and the Ma’at Youth Academy . With residents, the RED partners are identifying and supporting research, advocacy, organizing, and policy efforts within the following priority areas:
- Safe and affordable housing
- Accessible and affordable public transit
Community-driven economic development
- Quality public education
- Essential services
- Clean environment